Scoring up 25% in the new NHL
The 2005-06 season is now 100 games old and the initial results are positive. The multiple initiatives to increase scoring are working. At this point, teams are combining to score 6.4 goals per game, up from 5.1 goals in 03 and 5.3 goals in 02. This is a 25% increase over the 2003 seaosn. However this is still down from the 24 team early 90′s 7.5 goals per game.
In 95-96, the NHL averaged 6.3 goals per game. That is the closest scoring comparison to the current season. That year, seven players scored 50 or more goals, with Jagr and Lemieux netting 69 and 62 respectively. The tenth best scorer that season had 107 points.
If the initiatives to improve scoring continue for the balance of the season, we will likely have a breakout year in stats. The NHL, for all its faults, has definately learned from the lockout.
Naslund, Heatley, Alfredsson, Spezza, Lang, Jagr, Palfy, Gagne, Ovechkin, Savard, Crosby, Recchi, Hossa, Arnott, and Satan are among the most recognizable players who are on a very early pace to hit 100 points. It is way to early to predict who will win the scoring race, but it is safe to say, that this will be a sprint and not a crawl.